Virgil Arlo loves everything about tubes. He especially loves octal preamps tunes and ef86 preamp tubes too. Mr. Arlo has always gravitated towards cathode biased amps with 5y3 rectifiers. One thing is for sure, he’s a huge fan of vintage tube due to their improved feel and reliability over modern tubes. Here some of his favorite vintage tubes.
Bendix 6v6 & 5Y3
Bendix tubes were made in the USA, they were made to military spec. They are pretty much indestructible & most sets pretty much last forever. They have a slight delay when warming up and the 6v6s glow blue when you get them cooking which makes for a cool effect if you a tremolo amp with exposed tubes.
Mullard EL34s (vintage)
Most amps Mr. Arlo worked on are of the US variety and were equipped with 6v6 or 6L6 tubes but he had a huge appreciation for the amazing Mullard EL34 power tubes. He liked the Mullard ECC83s too but felt like they were a little overrated & benefitted greatly from being paired with the EL34 power tubes. He made a couple single ended EL34 amps & wanted to make a few dozen for his pro clientele but he never found the time due to the crushing demand for his pickups.
Ti Telefunken 12ax7
These were the best preamp tubes ever made & these were Mr. Arlo’s first choice for any British style amp he re-tubed. He’d also suggest this set for any Fender amp in which the owner wanted a little more gain. He always would try to satisfy customers with tube swaps before modding an amp. He was happy to mod a vintage amp but only as a last resort. Over the years he learned that a properly set up tube amp with high quality tubes & pickups would solve most tone issues.
Any Vintage Octal, Ef86 or 6973 tube
These are three style of tube that you almost never see in modern amps. The Octal Tubes and Ef86 tubes were always a little finicky and unpredictable so its understandable that they faded away but if you had a good set in a good circuit, you could do magical things with them.